Kauhajoki Police Called to Take Gun Away From Saari...But He Was Out
KAUHAJOKI police have today revealed that police visited Saari's home the day after questioning him on Friday to confiscate his handgun and firearms licence...but Saari was out and so they went away. Matti Saari, 22, went on a deadly rampage a couple of days later in a nihilistic killing spree.
The revelation comes as police confirm that all the victims were adults and that one of the ten had died of carbon monoxide inhalation as a result of the fires started by Saari as he burnt his victims' bodies.
A policeman is today expected to be charged with criminal negligence for "violating" his duty as a police officer by not immediately confiscating Saari's gun when he was questioned about his violent public YouTube video which showed Saari firing at a range. Angry residents of Kauhajoki have been clamouring for an answer when it was revealed that Saari had been warned about his conduct just two days before the shootings.
A police officer who handled the firearms permit application of Matti Saari, the gunman in last week’s shootings at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, faces a criminal investigation.
Investigating the case is prosecutor Timo Luosma, who decided to start the investigation on Tuesday. In his view, there is reason to suspect that the police officer in question violated his official duties out of carelessness, when he decided not to take issue with Saarela’s firearm permit.
The possible crime that the officer could be charged with is inadvertent violation of official duties.
The police officer has been questioned on the matter several times.
A preliminary investigation by the prosecutor does not necessarily mean that the officer would automatically be indicted. Deputy Prosecutor General Jorma Kalske is to consider whether or not charges should be filed, but this will take several weeks.
Luosma says that no further information can be made available, and that he has no possibilities to take a stand on information that has come out in the matter.
The late edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat wrote on Saturday that police already had orders on the Friday before the shootings to take the pistol away form Saari before the start of school the following week.
However, Saari was not at home when the police came on Sunday, and the officer in charge of gun licences decided to question Saari about the matter on Monday. The interview took place, but the officer decided to let Saari keep the weapon.
Police have also questioned people who were in telephone contact with Saari while the shooting was taking place.
“Nothing new came up during the questioning”, says Jari Neulaniemi, the head of the investigation.
Neulaniemi does not want to disclose the details of the calls, or the exact time when they occurred, or who called whom. In any case, there was telephone traffic. None of those questioned are suspected of anything, which suggests that they did not have advance knowledge of the shooting.
“The interrogations confirm things that we already know. The details will come out later in the protocol”, Neulaniemi says.
“We have no information that they would have taken part in the planning.”
The forensic investigation at the scene of the shooting is continuing, and it is possible that more spent shells will be found. At this point, police estimate that the number of shots fired was about 200.
Saari had many clips of ammunition, but Neulaniemi does not want to say how many. Each clip holds ten bullets, which means that Saari would have had to stop to reload several times.
Police are now constructing a time line revealing the movements of the shooter in the building. Neulaniemi believes that it will be fairly comprehensive.
“We will probably never know what happened every second, or every minute, on where he moved and what he did, but to a great degree, the sequence of events is clear.”
Police still do not know the identity of the person who shot the video footage of Saari at target practice.
“It has not come out and it may never come out. The camera operator could be one of the victims, or then it just might not ever come out. From the point of view of the crime, it is of fairly little significance.”